M.O.P’s Billy Danze Recalls To The Death, How About Some Hardcore 20 Years Later
This year, M.O.P’s debut album, To The Death, turns an astounding 20 years old. Released by Select Records on April 5, 1994, the LP was nearly entirely produced by fellow Brownsville, Brooklyn native D/R Period, who in addition to work with Smoothe Da Hustler, The Diplomats, and Shyheim Da Rugged Child, would later make the Mash Out Posse’s biggest hit, “Ante Up.”
In a new interview with HipHopDX, Billy Danze spoke about his role in Rap music, and Mash Out Posse’s ongoing reunion with DJ Premier.
Notably, the LP included the original version of “How About Some Hardcore,” a song that would highlight M.O.P’s place in the genre, and their overall premise 20 years later.
Billy explains the album, and its affect on his life at the time. “To The Death was really the byproduct of young, Black men from the street that just wanted to do something different than being shot at, taken to prison or having our lives on the line. My very first record, ‘How About Some Hardcore’ was the first time I’d ever been in a recording studio.”
Continuing, Bill added that the record, made in the legendary D&D Studios (owned today by Premier, and called HeadCourterz), was a breakthrough artistically to the B-boy. “[That was] the very first time. I’d never been in a recording studio in my life. That in itself was doing something different with my life. I didn’t know exactly what was gonna happen, but it just seemed like it was something different. We did this because it was all fun. Running around doing shows, creating these records… We created that record pretty much in a basement. We did the whole record in D/R Period’s spot from our neighborhood. Every track was produced by D/R, except for ‘Guns ‘N Roses,’ which was produced by Silver D.”
Reflecting, Bill added “It was something that we’d never done before. It was different, and we had an opportunity to stay alive and become something other than a statistic. To record the record was one thing, and that gave us a boost of energy and made us understand it was something more than what we was doing on the block. We already knew [The Notorious B.I.G.] from back in the day before any of us even got in the business. With him, I would say it was more competition, but I would say it was really a friendly competition. If Biggie did a record and we heard it, we would go, ‘God damn, why didn’t I think of that?’ So you want to come up with something just as dope or doper. It wasn’t to compete with him or try to push him down, but it gave you that momentum and that push to go harder.”
Notably, Billy Danze and Lil Fame worked on Biggie Smalls on Red Hot Lover Tone’s “4 My Peeps,” which also featured Organized Konfusion.
To The Death would be M.O.P’s only Select Records release, before joining Relativity/Loud Records for three albums, before two infamous, album-less stints with Roc-A-Fella, and G-Unit Records, respectively. The crew’s upcoming Street Certified EP is planned to release through Brooklyn’s Nature Sounds Records (Blu, Pete Rock, Prince Po).